It’s not even December yet and I feel like the holidays have already passed me by.
Working in magazine publishing means you’re always working at least 3 months ahead of each and every holiday. Plotting Halloween while others are launching firecrackers and decorating Easter eggs to the jingle of Christmas carols.
This past weekend my Instagram feed was blowing up with scenes of mulled wine and trimming the tree. It caused serious pangs of jealousy as my tree sat in it’s box and Smudge played the same top-40 One Direction song over, and over, and over and over. Again. And again.
But I’ll soon be atop the ladder, straddling to find the perfect spot for each memorable ornament as my helpful red-headed elf sorts through all of her favorite ornaments best suited for low-hanging fillers as the fire blazes and the dogs hoover about for cookie crumbs.
This weekend I’ll be speaking at the Mixed Conference, talking about ebooks and working my best Jennifer Gray impersonation in the hotel that Dirty Dancing built, er, boogied in.
Then it’ll be a jaunt home to put the final touches on the Holiday issue of FoodieCrush so you can get busy plotting and planning your holiday entertaining eats thanks to some fantastic food bloggers and their recipes.
Is your mouth watering yet?
This pork chop recipe is one of my favorites to pull out at the holidays. The festive red grapes paired with crispy green sage bypass the cliché trappings of Christmas colors thanks to their sweet roasty flavor explosions and browned herby crispy bits that more than compliments the double-cut and brined porkers.
And let us not forget the cheese. Ah, glorious cheese.
One of our favorite things to do most Sunday mornings is for the three of us to bundle up in the big bed and scan our favorite Food Network programs for what to make for dinner that night. That’s how we discovered this recipe from Tyler Florence.
A few notes about the recipe:
1. The original recipe calls for prosciutto wrapped in, but I found the pork on pork wasn’t distinguishable enough to justify the added expense.
2. The key to the chops are in the brine, similar to the one I used on my Grilled Pork Loin Roast with Balsamic and Raspberry Chili Glaze, to create the most succulent, juicey choppers you’ve ever sunk your Whitestripped teeth into.
3. Use whichever melty cheese you prefer or have handy, from white cheddar to fontina to asiago and secure your cheesey pocket with toothpicks in order to try and avoid a Valdez style cheese spill.
4. Try a few other ingredients to pork up your pork, like artichoke hearts and mushrooms with truffle oil or a bread stuffing with pinenuts and parmesan.
- 4 bone-in, thick cut pork chops, about 1½ inches thick
- 2 quarts water
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 cloves garlic
- 10 cloves
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 1 cup grated Asiago cheese or other melting cheese
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup fresh sage, chopped plus 8 whole leaves
- 1 pound California red grapes, on the vine and cut into 4 clusters
- 2 tablespoon Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix the water, sugar, salt, thyme, garlic, cloves and all-spice. Add the pork chops to the brine and marinate for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Drain the pork chops and pat dry. Make a slice in the center of each pork chop to make a pocket and stuff with ¼ cup cheese and ¼ of the sage for each chop. Heat 2 large cast iron skillets over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each skillet. Add 2 chops to each of the skillets and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, flip chops and add grapes to pan. Top each chop with 2 sage leaves and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Roast in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes depending on thickness or to 160 degrees. Remove chops and grapes from pan and move to a large plate reserving juices. Tent to keep warm.
- Put all of the juices into 1 pan over medium heat. Add chicken stock to the pan and scrape to pick up all of the flavorful crispy bits. Add butter and whisk to thicken sauce and add salt if needed. Serve pork chops with grapes and topped with sauce.